The circuitous route that Jon Stewart took to writing and directing his first feature film, Rosewater, could be a Hollywood movie in and of itself. The true story is about Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, who got arrested by authorities and sent to Iran’s notorious Evin prison in part because of a segment he appeared in on The Daily Show. When Bahari eventually wrote a memoir about the ordeal, Stewart ended up taking the reins to get the film made, ultimately choosing to write and direct it himself.
“I don't think that Jon felt responsible for my arrest. But I think he felt personally invested in the story because his name came up in a dark interrogation room in a prison in Iran,” Bahari tells The Hollywood Reporterabout the collaboration.
After unsuccessfully lobbying to get the film made, Stewart decided to go out of his comfort zone to write the screenplay on his own. “Ultimately, I said to Maziar, 'I feel like I know a path through this. I think I have a sense of what the individual story is but also what the larger thrust is. Let me just go f—ing write this and let's be done,’” Stewart says. And directing it naturally followed. “One of the things about being a stand-up and doing your own show is, you are accustomed to a certain level of material control. And at that point in the process, I was loath to give that up,” Stewart explains.
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